ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP 2022 DraftKings Preview
early lock for the dfs slate as the pga tour returns to japan
An exciting finish to the Shriners Children's Open last weekend. Joohyung Kim scooped his 2nd PGA Tour title at just the age of 20 after Patrick Cantlay had a pretty epic meltdown on the 72nd hole. This week should be another great display of golf as Hideki Matsuyama headlines a field which includes 20 of the top 60 players in the world in his home country of Japan. For the third time in fours years, Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club hosts the 2022 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. Remember to get those lineups locked in early! Let's get you set to see some green screens on DraftKings this week.
What's up golf addicts?! AC here, checking in week to week to provide a quick preview of the upcoming PGA Tour event. I’ll give you the lowdown on the course, the players, weather, and key stats to fill your models with.
All of the course data, player stats, and most of the information below can be found on Fantasy National Golf Club (FNGC). At FNGC you can view historic course conditions, course scoring breakdowns, tournament history, simulators, and official strokes gained data provided by the PGA Tour. Start building your models at Fantasy National now!
The Field and Tournament Details for The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
This will be the third iteration of the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP played at the Narashino Country Club over the last four years. The 78-man field consists of the top 60 players from the previous season's FedEx Cup rankings, 15 spots for Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) players, and a handful of sponsor exemptions. This year, the purse has soared to $11,000,000 with $1,980,000 set aside for the winner.
This is a no-cut event that has delivered some high-level golf and produced top-tier champions. Most notably, Tiger Woods, won the inaugural event in 2019 to claim his 82nd PGA Tour title. The event was moved to the US for one year in 2020 due to Covid. It was eventually won by Patrick Cantlay. Not to be outdone in his home country, Hideki Matsuyama took the title last season. Months after winning The Masters and Japan's first major championship.
Matsuyama is back to defend and comes in as the second highest-priced play ($10.4k) on DraftKings. Sandwiched between two sticks that also have Japanese heritage in Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa. Schauffele tops the board at $10.8k while Morikawa is third, at $10.2k. Sungjae Im, Joohyung (Tom) Kim, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Young, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, and Corey Conners round out the $9k and up range.
The $8k range is also heavily stacked with talent. Keegan Bradley, Si Woo Kim, Sahith Theegala, Tom Hoge, Cameron Davis, Maverick McNealy, Mito Pereira, Scott Stallings, Sebastian Munoz, and Davis Riley present balanced options. Some of the JGTO hopefuls include recently turned pros Keita Nakajima and Ryo Hisatsune, Kazuki Higa, Yuto Katsuragawa, and Rikuya Hoshino. Takumi Kanaya,
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Past Winners
Hideki Matsuyama - 2021 (-15); Patrick Cantlay - 2020 (-23, Sherwood CC); Tiger Woods - 2019 (-19)
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Course Breakdown
- Course: Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club
- Location: Chiba, JPN
- Yardage: 7,041
- Par: 70
- Architect: Shinya Fujita (1965)
- Greens: Bentgrass
Narashino Country Club opened in 1965 and is part of Accordia Golf which is similar to the TPC Network managed by the PGA Tour in North America. The course will play as a 7,000-yard Par 70. Built around the city of Chiba, Japan, the architects did a great job at tucking it away. Large and lush trees surround the course and line the fairways.
Like many Japanese courses, Narashino CC features two sets of greens for each hole. Typically both greens have different grass types so golf can be enjoyed year-round. One set is bentgrass while the other is Korai. This also makes things interesting for tournament setups with the course staff having a lot of options for pin placements. Zoysiagrass is also very prominent in Japan and will be found throughout the course this week.
The main defenses of the course are narrow-ish fairways and small undulated greens with a bit of water in play and some tricky bunkers. Narashino CC is a bit of a different par 70 setup being that it features five Par 3s and three Par 5s. Another important note for the week is the layout of the event. There will be a mix of nine holes from each of the King Course and Queen Course. Both courses were designed by Fujita.
Weather-wise, both years have been affected by mother nature. In 2019, the field had to face wind and rain and last year were met with cold temps. This year, there appears to be mix of all things. Thursday looks windy, wet, and cold. Friday looks dry but windy in the AM. Maybe a slight AM/PM advatage to explore closer to lock. The rest of the week should be smooth, albeit not as warm as the field will be accustommed to.
Key Stats for Narashino Country Club
- Off the Tee/Driving Accuracy
- Approach/Opps Gained
- Long Irons
- Bentgrass Putting/Scrambling
- Birdie or Better %/DK Scoring
- Par 5 Scoring
Unfortunately, strokes gained data is not available from Narashino CC. However, it's not too difficult to see what works with a setup like this. Looking at FNGC's Course Breakdown tool we can see two things stand out; Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation. Both are below the tour average and require an adjustment from the players. Driving distance doesn't suffer all that much as the rough seems to be manageable but the longer of an iron you have into the green lessens your chance at holding it.
I'll focus on total driving heavily this week (like normal) but will weigh fairways gained a bit more than usual. As always, approach will be a huge stat. The greens are tiny and golf is generally a second-shot sport. Opps gained will carry some weight as well being there are still a bunch of birdies out there. Birdie or better % will be right there beside Opps gained in the model. Helps to see who's sticking in em and which ones are draining em.
There will be lots of long irons this week so may throw in some long-range proximity. FNGC does allow us to see specific ranges for Par 4 scoring which will also give an idea about who excels from further out. I think you can add some Par 3 scoring to the models this week as well given there are five and of course, a dash of Par 5 scoring as well.
Finally, with the small and undulated Bentgrass greens, historical putting on bent is worth an examination. Around the green and scrambling will also be tested given so few greens are hit by the field. They haven't been overly hard to get up and down through the first two stops at Narashino CC but it's still only 60% or so.
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ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP INS & OUTS
*The field is 78